Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NOVEMBER Blog:  Today’s date [November 11th] provides a significant mark on the calendar for a number reasons . . .1)  it’s the beginning of the second (2nd) marking period . . . yup – 10 weeks of school already under our belt;  2) we focus on Veteran’s Day celebrating the commitment and heroic sacrifices made by may Americans; and, 3)  this week is also the beginning (try-out period) for Varsity and Junior Varsity Winter Sports.  For my November Blog, I want to touch on a short list of specific topics:

Re-Districting Implementation:  There has been an abundant amount of time spent on planning, organizing, and structuring the district in anticipation of the ‘new’ Liverpool Central School District Redistrict Implementation Plan.  I expect the verification process for names and addresses of all resident students will be complete by early December.  Following that task (January), all families will be notified of the school alignment, with specific street addresses (also know as the Street Code Book).  Shortly thereafter, all families will receive a letter indicating their neighborhood school - aligned with their home address.  In some specific cases, families will also be notified if one (or more) of the siblings is assigned to an alternate location due to ‘other’ circumstances.  The Board of Education has approved this realignment/restructuring plan . . . all designed to place students at the elementary and middle school building that is located nearest their home.  Obviously, this is not always possible . . . further, as decisions are made – the desire is to impact the fewest families as possible.  Often the disruption affects adults much more than the children will experience.  We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we strive to meet the redistricting goals.

Holiday “Season”:  Yup . . . it’s November and the ‘Holiday Season” creeps ever so closer.  Every month should be an opportunity to think about less fortunate families and the liberties we all experience in the United States.  There are an abundant number of ways to give back.  Volunteering at various events, donating to great causes and functions, and simply reflecting back on one’s life and identifying the gifts that we have acquired . . . knowledge, possessions, relationships, or other good fortune.

Budget Planning:  The budgeting process used by most school districts and municipalities incorporates a multi-year vision.  This helps us keep one eye on a current year perspective of collaboration, planning, and adjusting with another eye on the future year(s).  We typically conduct 5-year forecasting that continually provides data and also assists with planning for negotiations, debt service, construction and capital improvements, as well as program changes.  At the November 3rd Board of Education meeting, the 2015-2016 Budget Calendar was discussed.  We also identified the various significant milestones and date deadlines, culminating on May 19th with the statewide budget vote.  As we begin the upcoming budget conversations, I have impressed upon and challenged all of the administrative team to consider our current programming and the effectiveness of various initiatives.  Also, I have asked them to think about each individual budget request and how it may (or may not) impact students and the potential for achievement.  I have asked folks to consider whether the request meets the expectation -- specifically does the request align with the district vision, mission, and goals.  I anticipate the budget will be complete around early April.  Several Board meetings will be dedicated to budget input.

Smart Schools Bond:  On Tuesday, November 4th, a ballot proposition was included with the State Elections.  The Smart Schools Bond provided the Governor approval to bond $2 billion dollars . . . in exchange for dedicating funds to school districts specifically for technology connectivity and equipment.  The Liverpool School District was provided an estimate of $5.2 million dollars.  In order to utilize the Smart Schools grant we are required to submit an implementation plan that specifically identifies how (and when) Liverpool would disperse the funds.  The plan will be submitted to the New York State Education Department – followed by our own local technology implementation plan.  More information will follow once the plan is submitted and approved.

Strategic Planning:  During the 2013-2014 school year, we rolled out the early stages of developing a district-wide strategic plan.  A few weeks ago, a survey was posted on the district web site asking the community to consider some general questions.

Questions for a parent/community survey:
1.     What are the greatest challenges or issues this district needs to address over the next 5 years in order to provide a quality education for all students? 
2.     What are the most important skills and abilities students need to know or be able to do to be prepared for a successful future? 
3.     What evidence do you use to evaluate the quality of education in our school district? 
4.     What information or advice would you give the strategic planning team as they make decisions about long-term priorities and goals?
 Shortly, we will be reconvening the Strategic Planning Committee.  If anyone is interested in joining the committee - please contact the Superintendent's Office @ 622-7125 or email: mpotter@liverpool.k12.ny.us.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge and congratulate all of the students, coaches, advisors, and parents that have made the fall season a very successful experience for everyone!